A former Herefordshire deputy town mayor has been rapped for storming out of a meeting after being rude to a resident.

The behaviour of then-Councillor John Bannister, who stood down from Ledbury Town Council last month, broke the town council’s own rules, according to a newly published decision by Herefordshire Council’s monitoring officer, responsible for evaluating complaints against councillors in the county.

During a “heated debate” at a town council planning meeting on September 8 last year, Coun Bannister interrupted the member of the public at the end of the five-minute period given to address the meeting.


“Coun Bannister proposed that the member of the public should be stopped from speaking,” the monitoring officer’s decision says. “The council voted on this and agreed to [let] the member of the public have a short while longer.”

At this, Coun Bannister “banged the table and walked out of the meeting, saying that he was ‘not prepared to listen to this [nonsense]’”, the report says – the square brackets implying that a stronger word was actually used.

The complainant also claimed that on returning to the meeting, Coun Bannister proposed that anyone not abiding by the meeting rules, i.e. by keeping to time, should be banned from future meetings.


The complainant believed the councillor’s behaviour amounted to a breach of the town council’s code of conduct, which requires members to “treat everyone that they deal with equally and with respect and courtesy”.

Having taken into account the views of two independent appointed persons, the monitoring officer concluded that Coun Bannister had indeed breached the code in this way.

But as Coun Bannister stood down at last month’s election before the decision was issued, “no further action can be taken”, the monitoring officer said – adding: “There is no right of appeal against this decision notice.”Coun Bannister held the year-long title of deputy mayor from May 2022, during which time Coun Phillip Howells was town mayor.

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From the minutes of the meeting, it appears that the public speaker was a Mr Thomas, who put forward concerns on noise disturbances at The Barn café in the town.

“Councillor Bannister left the room, advising that he was unhappy with the decision to allow Mr Thomas to continue, and that he would return when the speech concluded,” the minutes record.

Coun Bannister was also involved in an intemperate exchange with fellow councillor Dee Knight during an online planning meeting in 2021.